Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I still go to a reading group on my favorite linguistics subject, tense and aspect. When I tell people this, they give me a Look. A "What? Why?" look. Well, I enjoy it, is the only reason I need. For an hour a week (if the discussion is interesting), I am filled again with a sense of pleasure that I only get from linguistics. The feeling of understanding something so well that you can clearly perceive the vast panorama of things you don't yet understand, and a path or two to finding out the answer. Oh, it's delicious. Remind me to tell you a little about aspect some time.

Of course, on the mundane level, it involves a lot of things I'd just as soon have nothing to do with, which is why I stopped. The day-to-day drudgery of jewelry making is far more pleasant than the day-to-day business of knowledge-making. I enjoy creating in and of itself. But I do miss the pursuit of the question, just a little.

It always seemed to me that artistic creativity and, for lack of a better term, scientific creativity, are closely related, if not identical, processes. You have to put everything you know together in one place, give it a good examination, and then answer the big question: what can I contribute? How can I approach this differently? What remains to be explored? And if you're lucky, if you have that spark, you can find some angle, some little corner to magnify and riff on in your own way. Development of lexical aspectual systems in L2 Swahili; paper jewelry-- same diff. Always building on the work of others, hopefully adding something valuable to the conversation.

Well, enough of that for now.


Hey Harriet said...

"Development of lexical aspectual systems in L2 Swahili" ??? Gosh, you sure have a way with words. You'd be a most impressive & interesting dinner party guest :)
Great blog! Great read!

Joanna said...

Hah! Actually, they like to call me in to help break up the party when it starts to get too late. Yeah, switching to jewelry has generally made me much more popular!

High Desert Diva said... comment was going to be the same thing Hey Harriet said....hmmmm

Break up a party....ha!